The Collapse of Capitalist Democracy

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By Carlos Borrero

The current political environment is characterized by an undeniable abandonment of democratic principles by capitalist governments. The recent coups d’état in Honduras (2009) and Egypt (2013) demonstrate that when the will of the people clashes with the combined interests of national and international capitalists, the latter dispense with democratic principles. In the case of Brazil, where a Party that supposedly represented the interests of the workers was in government for fourteen years, it should be recalled that those that sabotaged Rousseff are from the same Democratic Movement of Brazil led by the fascist Temer that were in a governing alliance with the Workers Party. In the same way, the Greek experience highlights that independent of the rhetoric of Parties that claim to defend the interests of the majority, if their practical activity consists in allying themselves with capitalist Parties to stay in power they will inevitably end up betraying all electoral promises and paving the way for even more brutal attacks by the extreme right.

Within the imperialist countries the same retreat from capitalist democracy is evident in the growing gap between the will of the majority and the policies pushed by a reduced number of increasingly right-wing, official Parties that compete in elections. In the US, the current contest pits an unapologetic fascist against a candidate whose ties to the imperialist military apparatus, as well as the big investments banks, run deep. Such is the narrowness of the political spectrum that characterizes countries from France to Japan.

To what do we owe this disconnect between the democratic aspirations of the working masses that inequality end and that decent jobs, affordable housing, quality education and a dignified retirement are guaranteed on the one hand, and unpopular austerity measures along with militarist aggression are imposed by capitalist governments on the other?

The erosion of democracy is the result of the growing awareness on the part of the capitalists that their rule over society has lost legitimacy. The recurring and prolonged economic crises that condemn the majority to precariousness and intensify the competition between capitalists to the point of war do not have a solution under the current system. They are the inevitable results of a system based on private capitalist profit.

Until now the popular response to the imminent collapse of democracy has been the organization of new Parties and “opposition movements” with the aim of recouping lost capitalist democracy. These phenomena are strongly influenced by the upper middle class, which under conditions of economic and political crisis sees its privileged position threatened. However, behind this middle class the capitalists are very aware workers lay in waiting. Their interests do not reside in vain projects to reform the current system but rather its overthrow by taking into its own hands the reigns of power in order to really implement the will of the majority.